With six days to do to the November 3 election, in which three positions for the Sammamish City Council are on the ballot, City ballot returns through Oct. 26 are a dismal 7.8% of registered voters.
This is fractionally behind neighboring cities, Issaquah, Redmond and Kirkland, which are hovering around 8% ballot returns. Bellevue is slightly higher at 8.4%. All of King County, including Seattle where there are City Council races, is hovering around 8% ballot returns so far.
Off-year elections typically have dramatically lower voter turnout than presidential years or mid-term years in which the top of the ballot has a US Senator race. In Washington, the governor is elected in the same year as the president and mid-term elections have a US Senate seat at the top of the ballot.
City Council races are in the odd years, and don’t draw much in the way of turnout. Top top-of-the-ballot office races in King County are for Assessor and Director of Elections, two yawners that won’t help draw voters.
The top ballot initiative this year is I-1136, another Tim Eyman tax initiative that most people believe will be ruled invalid in a court challenge should it pass. A number of arcane advisory votes are on the ballot.
Eighty five percent of Sammamish voters typically turn out in a presidential election. This historically drops to 50% or less in an odd-year election. But since the City Council races are “down ballot,” by the time voters get down to these races, the actual voter participation is even lower.
Sammamish Comment has charted the statistics in three recent odd-year elections: